WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) — Saturday marked the six-year anniversary of Bryce Harper's MLB debut.
At this point in his career, Bryce is both savvy at the plate and often feared by opposing pitchers.
A dangerous combination for the opposing team, which has made him the most walked man in baseball.
He was walked intentionally Saturday by the D-backs and now has 35 walks, which leads the Majors by 11.
In case you forgot about Bryce up until this point, here's a few highlights to jog your memory.
2009: Bryce's prodigious talent and mammoth frame made him a Sports Illustrated cover boy as a 16-year-old sophomore at Las Vegas High School.
The cover referred to him as the "Baseball's LeBron James."
Since 16 years old he has been meeting and exceeding exceptions, just like LeBron.
Bryce may not have been as good as quickly as LeBron, but once it happened, it happened fast, and it’s here to stay.
That same year, while competing in a high school home run derby, he smashed a 570-foot home run—with an aluminum bat—at Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field.
The longest home run recorded in the ballpark's history.
2010: This day eight years ago, Bryce finished his junior year season with 31 homeruns, while batting an amazing .443.
His selection by the Nationals with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft makes him the highest selection of any player drafted straight from an NJCAA member college.
2011: The hitting streak begins for young Bryce.
After hitting a casual .399 in Spring Training, Bryce started his professional career with the Class A Hagerstown Suns. He would not stay there for very long.
He struggled at first, hitting just .233 over his first 12 games, and then promptly transformed into the hitting beast he is today.
From April 26 to May 14, Bryce ripped off an 18-game hitting streak that included 12 multi-hit games, six dingers and his very first grand slam:
2012: The 19-year-old Nats' rookie makes his debut.
2013: Bryce's first walk-off homer, the rest is history!
2014: A home run derby in the NLDS.
Bryce led off with a dinger in Game 1 and hit another in Game 3 to help Washington stave off elimination. Then, back in San Francisco for Game 4, he outdid himself with a certified splash landing:
2015: Six dingers, three days! You heard it.
Bryce hit a still-mind-boggling .330/.460/.649 with 42 homers in 2015 (OPS+: 198), taking home the NL MVP Award at age 22.
Bryce went off May 6-9. First, he hit three dingers in one game against the Marlins. Then, he launched two more in his next game against the Braves. And finally, to top it all off, he hit one more the very next day -- this time a walk-off blast:
2016: 100 grand
By this point, Bryce had already demonstrated a flair for the dramatic -- again, his first career stolen base was a steal of home.
So, as he sat on 99 homers in April, it was clear that No. 100 couldn't be just any old dinger.
It had to be special.
And it was.
2017: A homer in every NL park for Bryce.
Pretty surreal to make history at age 24, welp Bryce is surreal.
Back on May 17 against the Pirates, he managed to check off a box on the career bucket list: Hit a home run in every current National League park.
Also, this is the year of Bryce and the best helmet throw ever!
Bryce starts brawl with Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland. His throw may have been a little off target...
2018: No bat? No problem for Bryce.
Nats' General Manager, Mike Rizzo has some kind words to share about Bryce.
“This guy’s taken a lot of strides and a lot of steps in his career,” Rizzo continued, “in a short professional career, and I think he’s a guy that, he’s a special guy and he’s got some special skills and the player development guys, every coach and every coordinator, manager, from Bob Boone to Doug Harris, they’ve done a terrific job with this guy, expediting his developmental curve to the point that it gave me the confidence to know that he could handle anything that they throw at him on the big league level.”
Nats' Manger Davey Martinez also has some words to share.
“What’s funny is you look at him, and he still looks like — to me he looks like a baby. I’ve got kids older than him. But knowing that he’s been around for such a long time, you look at him as a young veteran, really. And his presence in our clubhouse and on the field speaks for itself. So, I’m really happy for him and I’m glad I get to manage him every day.”
The now 25-year-old outfielder will (barring the unforeseen) become baseball’s highest paid player EVER!
This will likely draw a contract worth close to half a billion dollars during the free agency season of 2019, and he will play wherever he want.
Hopefully still with the Nats? Guess we will wait and see!
Cheers to many more years with the Nats' Bryce!